Starcrash Review


Whenever you see a film about aliens, action, and outer space you know that things are about to get real. This is definitely a film that is quite solid as a result. You can expect a lot of good battles and fun dialogue with lightning fast pacing. It’s a good all around movie that has withstood the test of time and it actually does end up beating the majority of Star War titles and even some Star Treks.

The movie starts off by introducing us to the greatest pilot in all the cosmos Stella and her ally Akton. Together they commit a lot of crimes and have fun doing it. They end up getting cornered by the police though so when they escape they end up being captured by the Police. The police end up breaking them out of jail though to stop Count Zarth. They will be accompanied by the police robot named Elle and an alien known as Thor. This all seems rather trust worthy so now they need to find Prince Simon so he can assist the Emperor in stopping the Count. Can they find him? Also, what if he didn’t survive the plane crash?

There is a whole lot going on in this film right from the start. One thing you’ll definitely enjoy if you’re a sci-fi fan is all of the action. The characters are using their blasters to wipe everyone out and they even get a light saber at one point. There are a lot of hand to hand fights where Stella even gets to beat back legions of adversaries. This is a movie that knows how to get a good rumble going.

As for the visuals, they’re on point as well. It’s definitely got that Star Wars/Trek vibe to it with the spaceships all around and a lot of space fights. The pacing is on point and I’d say the writing was pretty good. You’ll always be engaged as the characters exchange tough talk and try to size each other up. Thor openly mocking the heroes was certainly fun after he took over the ship.

Now, one very forced element in the film though is that Stella’s uniform doesn’t seem to be standard procedure. It’s extremely noticeable when the heroes are taken to the villain base that everyone has super weapons grade combat suits at the ready while she’s wearing more of a Red Sonja type costume which she keeps for pretty much the whole film. It’s definitely a “really?” kind of moment.

Still, beyond that she is a fun character. Technically she is the captain of her ship and a top notch hand to hand fighter after all. It would be surprising if she couldn’t deal with this level of opponent. The trouble is that she has no real defenses though. What that means is that if the villains catch her she will be yelling for help almost immediately. Despite being the tough heroine in the film she does get captured quite a bit.

Then you have her partner Akton. He is one of those guys who is so powerful that we never even learn his full abilities. He seems to be able to manipulate vectors, fire energy blasts, see the future, use energy weapons nobody’s ever heard of before, and that’s just for starters. He can do just about anything but still gets knocked around from time to time. Still, if you need someone to have your back he’s probably the best pick you could ask for.

Elle is another standout character here. He’s a very upbeat robot who is always yelling and having a good time. While he does get nervous a lot, he is always ready to jump into the fray to save lives. It’s why he makes for a good cop and why he never gave up when going after Stella. There’s clearly a lot of history there and it makes for some good banter. He added a lot to the dynamic.

Next up is Simon who doesn’t show up until near the end. He seems like a good character though and is definitely a heroic one. Without him the heroes would have been in a sticky situation by the end. He’s definitely not very necessary though as you could certainly have not had him appear and things wouldn’t change much. Thor was a more interesting character with how confident of his skills he was. The guy was even able to take down Akton in their first fight which is no small feat.

As for The Emperor, his time control tech is super impressive to be sure. You have to wonder why he was so helpless before Stella and Akton got rid of all of the obstacles. Surely he could have done more against the Count right? The Count was definitely a fun villain though. He has a cool costume and a very classic villain laugh. This guy had a tendency to get amused quite often after all.

The minion designs are also fun. As the film goes on we meet a giant robot like something out of Ultraman that shows up to step on the heroes. Then you have a pair of robots who wield swords that can even turn into energy blades. All of this helped to really show how dangerous the army of the count was. It’s also fortunate that Elle was around with his blasters. The robot was not taking any prisoners and must have disintegrated dozens of opponents throughout the film. Ultimately the sheer numbers were just too much for him to stop.

Overall, Starcrash is a very good film. It’s definitely a blast to watch and the kind of film you really don’t see anymore. It’s a relic of its time and a reminder of the good ole days of sci-fi films. The only element of the film anywhere near a negative would be that Stella should have had a proper battle suit like everyone else. Beyond that, the film delivered with showing us various planets and introducing a lot of concepts. The contrast of Stella being extremely confident but losing most of her fights while Elle was always scared but kept beating everyone he fought made for a nice dynamic as well. With a few sequels this could have easily become the next big Sci-Fi series. I guess it wasn’t to be this time but any fan of the genre owes it to themselves to watch this.

Overall 7/10

The Law of Ueki Review


The Law of Ueki is a manga that was a lot of fun back in the day. It tends to be overlooked when talking about some of the top action titles but it can certainly hold its own. The series had a lot of fun characters and engaging fights. It’s no surprise that the anime really handles this quite well too. You can really divide the anime into two sagas even though it’s all the same tournament. Pre Celestials and Post. Either way you should have a blast with both versions and with a satisfying conclusion you can put this away as a very complete anime.

Law of Ueki opens up with a premise about a big tournament about to be held by the Celestial King. The winner of this tournament will receive the Talent of *Blank* meaning that you can write down whatever is there. Naturally that’s a very enticing prize for most. Each Celestial is able to choose one human to represent them in the tournament as this is a battle through proxy as the celestials would be too overpowered. You are allowed to give your candidate one power that you currently possess.

The candidates then have to seek each other out and defeat their opponents. Each time you defeat an opponent you also gain a personal skill like the talent to dance or things like that. Defeat them all and you will presumably win the tournament. Injuring non ability users is a strict no no though as you will lose a talent for each person you injure. Lose them all and you will cease to exist.

That brings us to the main celestial Mr. K who is thinking about having Ueki be his candidate. Mr. K is determined to see if the boy has an air of righteousness about him though and gives a lot of tests. Ueki completes each one as the guy is just a nice kid by default so Mr. K selects him. Ueki makes the rather interesting decision to take the power of turning trash into trees. Will he really be able to win this tournament with such an ability? His best friend Mori isn’t so sure so she decides to tail him everywhere to keep him safe.

Mori’s definitely a great friend to have. She really has nothing to do with this battle and prior to the series it’s hard to say if they really were true best friends. Still, she knew he was in danger so she jumped in to help which is definitely a heroic thing to do. Throughout the series she always has his back. She may not be the biggest fighter but she does participate in the tournament and does well when needed. Mori is quite determined and doesn’t go down easy. I would go as far as to say she is one of the better Shonen heroines.

The opening episodes of the show are mostly about introducing us to Ueki’s opponents, future rivals, and how the fights will go down. Ueki will typically end up going against a power user not because he really wants to win but because he realizes that it will be a bad thing if these guys get the talent of blank. Let’s just say that they don’t exactly have an air of righteousness about them after all so they would definitely end up leading the world into ruin. Sometimes their wishes aren’t super crazy evil but they’re always very selfish.

Ueki shows these guys what’s up by taking them out and he also gets more familiar with his ability. He doesn’t mind using it on humans when he sees anyone acting with evil intentions though. Due to this Ueki quickly starts losing a whole lot of talents. It’s a good thing Mori is here or he would probably go down to 0. Still, aside from one episode about track and field where he wasted talents for no real reason, each of the other times it felt necessary for him to use his ability or people would really get hurt.

The power to change trash into trees is a unique one so I give the series credit there. In general I thought the author was very creative with the abilities. Being able to turn towels into iron is another unique one for example or being able to put a portrait of someone’s face to simulate their voice. They aren’t abilities I’ve seen anywhere else or that I expect I’ll see in the future.

Ueki’s power system is also pretty well thought out. Each ability has a limiting condition that must be applied in order for it to work and also to negate it. That means there is a lot of strategy here instead of going for the I win button each time. Every character has to watch their actions closely which makes for a lot of nice back and forth battles.

Then the second half of the series I’d say is when the Robert’s 10 shows up although you could also make the case it should be when the tournament’s next round starts so they all go to the Celestial World. If we go with the latter, a big change is this is now a team tournament to Ueki teams up with Ai, Sano, Rinko, and Hideyoshi to form their 5 man team. Additionally, Ueki starts to learn some new abilities thanks to being a celestial and the concept of a grade 2 weapon is introduced as well.

Ueki getting some twists and a power up was pretty good because it does explain why he survives some absolutely brutal attacks throughout the course of the show. They are moves you wouldn’t expect a normal human to walk away from but taking a beating in anime isn’t exactly a new concept. So even without the twist I don’t think it would be a big deal but it is part of what makes this knowledge effective.

The major change here though are Ueki’s new abilities. Now that he has celestial weapons, super speed, and a bunch of ranged weapons, the whole tree power grows less and less helpful. It makes sense because such an ability had huge limitations from the start but you do feel to an extent like it changes all battles going forward. Now instead of strategy it was more about spamming your celestial weapons so for better or worse it completely changes how all of the fights go.

Personally I was a fan of it though. No matter how you slice it, it would have been a little cheesy for Ueki to have caught up to the others without some kind of big boost. Most of the other characters still have to rely on their natural talent so for their battles you still have the strategy. Ueki also does his best to mix and match weapons so it’s still unique.

Ueki’s just a pretty great character. At times they definitely use him to parody some of the usual moments. One such scene is when a guy he barely knew gets super injured so Ueki goes into a rage mode to fight Robert. The next episode Ueki doesn’t even remember who the guy was though which is super random but he did barely know the guy so maybe it actually makes sense. Ueki’s all about winning the right way and saving everyone he can. He’s a classic main character who always stays very heroic.

You could say the main rival of the series is Sano although Li-Ho could make a case for that as well. Sano’s another heroic guy and his ability of turning towels into iron may not sound impressive but he makes it work. Sano is a master strategist so coming up with plans on the fly like that is really what makes him stand out. He ended up easily being my favorite character in the series due to how impressive he was.

Sano makes up for his lack of pure strength with plans and this is something that comes in handy right through the final episode as well. Whenever you need a hand, Sano is your man. Rinko is another one of the main allies and while she is also a strategist, her methods differ greatly from Sano’s. She prefers to think everything through before making a move while Sano acts as he goes to test out his theories and troubleshoot. While neither approach is objectively better I would go with Sano’s in a fight.

Both of them have issues thanks to this during their team fight and in that case I thought Sano was right since you can’t just hide. Rinko’s power is to turn beads into bombs which is handy but since it’s not the most mobile technique the opponents tend to use that against her. She gets a glove near the end of the series that amps up her powers to a great degree but it’s so late in the game that she doesn’t get to use it a whole lot. She’s a fun character though.

Finally you have Hideyoshi who was added so late in the game that I don’t really think there was a reason for him to be included. He doesn’t really add anything to the dynamic that wasn’t already there and he can’t fight for beans. I won’t take any shots at the guy because he’s okay, but he just didn’t feel necessary is what I’m trying to say here. His power needs a lot of work.

Mr. K gets a fairly big role of course but I admit that he tended to be more annoying than anything. I liked him when he was alive. Despite his tough talk he did come to help Ueki when it counted. Where he got more annoying was once he was dead. The guy went out of his way to try and not hear about how Ueki was doing. It’s all just an act of course but he goes to such extremes that he just ends up being unlikable. So…yeah I wasn’t a fan by the end.

Tenko’s a much better ally for Ueki. He’s willing to make a lot of sacrifices to help him out and isn’t ashamed to be helping him. Now that’s a true ally. Then you have Yodogawa who is not the most loyal guy around to say the least but he gets a lot of fun scenes. There’s a certain track from the OST that plays for all of his scenes and it’s really great. So this guy worked rather well as a comedy character.

Now lets check out some of the villains. First off is the main villain Hanon. I guess I should say final villain as opposed to main since he doesn’t appear for quite a while. The guy is very powerful and really sets his own plans. I like that he’s not just someone who simply follows orders. He also likes a good fight and even entertains Li-Ho on this for a while. That said, he did try going after a random dog so it was lucky that Ueki was there. It could have gotten very dicey. I like his combat energy but going after a dog is just plain petty.

The other big villain is Robert and he really serves as the first huge obstacle in Ueki’s way. His bubbles ability is actually a lot cooler than it sounds with how it can raise and drop objects. Once he takes out the celestial weapons don’t expect that you’ll see a lot of this again though. He served as a good benchmark for how you could measure the rest of the characters. Robert is quite twisted to be sure and the show executes this well. He’s quite the intimidating villain.

Li Ho isn’t really a villain per say but he is a powerful obstacle in Ueki’s way. Part of this guy’s hype is he is so strong in martial arts that he doesn’t even use his super power. The show really milks this since the whole time you are waiting for him to use his abilities. The guy is very determined not to do so which means you can certainly appreciate his resolve even if you feel like he should put his pride aside to just win the fight. His battles against Ueki and Hanon are most excellent and he is definitely one of the best characters in the show.

Onimon is one of the earlier opponents but worth noting as he’s a fun character. He’s really powerful with his whole cannonballs attack and he has a good honor code in place. He’s definitely determined not to win his fights with cheap shots or anything like that and I always like characters like that. Winning isn’t enough, you have to win the right way.

I should also mention the King. He doesn’t get to do a whole lot but as the Celestial King his abilities are absolutely top caliber. There are very few opponents who can take him on. You feel like he probably should have acted a bit sooner though as his plan was very shaky and full of holes from the start. If he had a better plan or thought things through a little more then things would have been very different here. He’s a charismatic guy but there’s no excuse for not acting so I’d give him a thumbs down.

Each of the Robert’s 10 gets a role of course but lets talk about some of the biggest members. First has to be Don as the guy had a big grudge against Ueki from the start. His power to turn rings into rockets was also very impressive. His raw power was absolutely insane and he’s a good example of someone who just isn’t very compatible with the trees ability. Ueki needed something more to take that guy down.

Then you have Marco with his lava ability. Honestly if not for being with Rinko and then trapping Ueki in a tough spot, he would have gone down quick. The guy is good at playing dirty though so he’s pretty memorable. Then you have Taro who is the strongest member of the group. With his lasers and saws it’s tough to take him down. Of course that’s against the rules but it’s not like the Celestial King is paying any attention right? People break the rules constantly in this tournament. Taro was a solid villain though.

Kabara is another tough member. While the guy got humiliated in the end, he did look good in his fight with Mori. A fight that was quite original I might add and really stood out. Then you have Carpaccio who is more like a street gang guy but a very tough one to be sure. His ability to copy powers was already tricky to deal with and then when you combine it with all of his other abilities the guy was a true menace. Definitely not someone who could be taken down easily.

Margarette is a villain who doesn’t appear until near the end of the series but he was also impressive. His grand master plan is certainly ambitious and even end of series Ueki would have a tough time with him. (Ueki would probably still win though) This guy was fun and I wouldn’t have minded seeing him appear a little more just so we could learn more about the guy.

Team Marilyn was certainly one of the most impressive teams in the tournament. Mainly due to their leader, Marilyn herself. Her super speed ability is so broken that even by the end of the fight there was no way for Ueki to beat her. It’s why you have to wonder where she was during the climax as she could have actually given Hanon a good fight. The celestial weapons are all too slow to hit her after all so maybe she could have even won.

Her fight against Ueki is probably the best battle in the series as well. It’s just really good and it fits in well with the rest of the fights because the team battle was also the best in the series. Each member was very dangerous so everyone on Ueki’s team had their work cut out for them. It also helps that nobody on Marilyn’s team was even evil so at times you aren’t sure who to root for. You can just enjoy a battle between two elite teams.

In comparison, Team Barrow at the end isn’t quite as impressive. Sure, maybe they could beat Team Marilyn but I think it would be close and not a guarantee. They have no single member stronger than Marilyn, however as a whole their members are way stronger than her teammates so it does even out. Barrow’s members are all solid. They have Celestial weapons that have different gimmicks so each one has to be handled in a different way. Underestimate them at your own peril.

Law of Ueki has a lot of great humor which is worth noting. The characters lend themselves well to the humor such as Yodogawa being foiled in his plans or Ueki trolling his music friend. Mori’s antics as she tries to use her powers can be a great bit of fun as well. The show also subverts your expectations at times like when one character is gearing up to use some kind of super ultimate attack only to be foiled in the end before he can even do it. Scenes like that really land.

The show has a solid balance of being serious, funny, emotional, and dramatic. To an extent this is true for any good show of course. I’d say where this show really hit the next level and got big was the Robert’s 10 arc. Now I think Ueki took a huge risk that he didn’t need to in trying to join but he was definitely determined. The challenge where he had to lift a block up for several days without moving was crazy. Especially with the characters beating him up and jumping on the rock during the process.

That has to be one of the most intense scenes in the whole show. I’m sure Ueki was definitely ready to take them out after all of that. Even while being undercover Ueki made sure that nobody was going to push him around which I appreciated as well. He matched them blow for blow. That’s also the arc where we started getting a lyrical song before the episode would end which was a great way to end the fights.

The theme song just sounds really epic and it’s part of why you should always choose an opening with that in mind. A similar scene is when Ueki shows up near the end of the series with another inspirational track. The show puts the heroes in some really tight corners so when they get out it definitely feels pretty hype.

The animation is definitely very nice here. The battle scenes are on point and there are a lot of nice effects. Each attack looks good and the hand to hand battles have a lot of smooth transitions. The soundtrack is also pretty solid. I wouldn’t say most of the tunes seem to stand their ground when listened to on Youtube but when you mix them into the scenes with context I thought they were quite impressive. Both of the openings are also really good. The first one in particular stands out and really works well when the heroes have a big moment to end the episode.

Overall, The Law of Ueki is a great anime. It’s a show built around a tournament which is always a lot of fun and they are able to develop each character really well. The 50+ episodes all flow by really quickly. Before you know it they’re gone and that’s always the hallmark of a solid title. I can easily recommend this to anyone who likes a good action anime. It’s written well and every aspect of the show holds up well. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a Plus anime someday to see the characters return.

Overall 8/10

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Review


Marvel is keeping it going with a second live action show connected to the movies. Following up on WandaVision this one is more of a down to Earth story with two characters still trying to move on after Cap seemingly died or at the very least is super old right now. Personally I’m in the “he’s dead” camp myself but you never know when he might pop out to mess with everyone. This one’s a good show and I would put it above the WandaVision show. As it all takes place in the modern day you can expect a lot of setup for future events.

The show starts with showing us where the two characters are at. Falcon is in a rough spot financially since being an Avenger and a top ranking government agent doesn’t pay very well. (I still have major issues believing this by the way. There’s absolutely no way the government could let this happen. Even without Tony there should be some way he should have a lot of money right now since being a free lance government worker pays really well and with the Avengers press and such that should add up.) He and his sister may even have to sell their boat which is causing a lot of tension between them. Surely Falcon can find a way to get past this but it’s going to be difficult.

Meanwhile the Winter Soldier is trying to deal with his guilt of murdering so many people back when he was a Hydra agent. He is going to mandatory counseling to deal with this and has been working as a vigilante to try and commit a lot of good deeds to overwhelm the negative ones. It hasn’t stopped his nightmares though and he needs something big to take his mind off of things.

Well, they’re in luck. A terrorist organization known as the Flag Smashers have popped up. They go around burning buildings and destroying property to realize their goal of “One People One World” Effectively, they are saying that the world was better during the 5 years when everyone was blinked out of existence and they want everyone to go back to that time. They are led by Karli, a super soldier who is willing to do whatever it takes to get this mission accomplished. Sam and Bucky are going to need to unite forces to stop her.

Right off the bat it was nice to see some pseudo Avengers action here. One of the highlight battles was definitely when they engage the Flagsmashers on the train and get some assistance from the new Captain America, John Walker and his partner. With 4 on 4 effectively you figure the heroes would win but they still get rolled up like a burrito. It just goes to show that they are still lacking that power hitter to win the day but it was a well balanced fight that went back and forth.

All of the battle scenes here are on point. There’s a lot of good choreography throughout. That said, Falcon and John feel incredibly outmatched here since they are normal humans dealing with super soldiers. They should be getting rolled every time they try to fight because the gap is just too huge at this point. Especially as in later films we’ve seen more of what the super soldier serum could really do for Cap. It’s not a level of power that you can easily match.

The show only lasts for 6 episodes but it gets to accomplish a whole lot within that time such as plot setups for the future and different developments that will be relevant to the films coming up. One character who was fleshed out really well here was John. I rather liked the guy and thought that Sam and Bucky were way too harsh on the guy. He really was just trying to help initially but all they had to offer him were insults and a bad attitude. You can see where his character arc is going from there from the start though.

It’s a classic Ironwood kind of path although handled with a lot more subtlety. By the end you can’t even say John is fully evil or anything. The fact that his emotions run away with him is incredibly dangerous though so he’s likely going to end up more like Punisher than the actual Captain America. Still, I look forward to seeing more of him. He’s a versatile fighter who was usually fighting against bad odds and still did well.

His 2 on 1 fight against the other heroes was impressive, so impressive that you could make the case he would have beaten either one of them 1 on 1. That would scale him to possibly being even a little stronger than Steve who was initially getting overpowered by Bucky at times although I suppose since then he had surpassed him. John does have a whole lot of combat experience though so it makes sense. To him the whole thing must feel unfair as two vigilantes are trying to take away the shield he got from the government. Mix that in with the other events from that day and he had a really rough time of it.

On the government crowd we also have Sharon who finally gets to appear in the universe again after being gone for a long while. She’s a fun character and definitely doesn’t seem to have an issue with murdering her opponents though. She has managed to survive for a long while on her own which has definitely had an effect on how she sees things. Sharon will be an interesting character to keep an eye on.

Zemo also gets a big role here. Yes, I do think the heroes busting him free as part of the plan was an extremely risky plan that could have easily backfired. I disagreed with it from the start mainly because of how many innocent people would and probably die die during the escape. It’s glossed over but they had to free a ton of prisoners to keep the guards busy and we see a lot of guards getting knocked out during the chaos. Considering that all of these villains were incredibly dangerous like Zemo, I doubt they would be taking prisoners.

So the benefits didn’t outweigh the dangers there. At that point you could easily be rooting against the heroes for the rest of the show and I wouldn’t blame you. It was pretty shocking how dubious a decision that was. Zemo’s a fun guy though. He’s certainly as villainous as ever but he does agree that the Flagsmashers are a big concern since the guy really doesn’t like the super soldier serum. He’ll be an ally at least for a little while but he’s not someone you can turn your back on.

Joaquin is Falcon’s main army contact and the guy does pretty well for himself. He certainly isn’t someone who is ready to fight with a bunch of super soldiers but he does well when needed and finds out a lot of info. Then there’s Falcon’s sister who is fun enough. She helps to keep him grounded and is doing what she can to stay afloat.

Now let’s look at the two main characters and the main villain. Falcon leads the title card so as you can imagine he is effectively the main character here. A big part of the story is his character development from giving away the shield to ultimately deciding to take on the mantle. You’ve probably seen certain shots from the final episode between the film announcement and the big deal it got but he will certainly be entering a new status quo going forward.

I would like for Falcon to get a super soldier serum of his own just because I don’t think it’s possible to compete for long without powers but maybe that is coming up. He’s a good character here and there’s a lot of nice banter with Bucky. Falcon does fumble the ball towards the end though with his speech about how Karli wasn’t a terrorist. You can understand the idea behind this and not rushing to conclusions, but he shouldn’t have used her as an example.

Let’s face facts here, she blew up several buildings that still had innocents inside, she was going to blow up a bus of government officials to send a message and she was just getting started. She was getting more and more extreme throughout the show so calling her a terrorist is fair. His main comeback seemed to be that she had a good message but your intentions and goals don’t matter when you cross a certain line.

After all, there are tons of villains who had goals that people may even agree with but the methods are what nullify them. The universe is over populated so you may agree with Thanos on reducing it, just not by destroying people. Adam Taurus fought to help give the Faunus equal rights which everyone agreed with but he wanted to do that by murdering people so it voided the cause. It’s the same thing with Karli. Maybe they can think of a way to make the world better but it doesn’t change the fact that she and her Flagsmashers were absolutely 100% terrorists.

So I think Falcon got caught up in his feelings a bit there with a character who had just threatened to murder his sister an episode ago but otherwise he was a fun lead. It’ll be good to see how he handles the mantle in the next season. Meanwhile Bucky is definitely the more down to Earth guy in the group. I would say it seems like he was nerfed quite a bit to make sure he wouldn’t just outshine the rest of the cast though. Based on how well he fought Captain America he should absolutely be dominating these Flagsmashers. Unless it’s 4 to 1 or something he just has way better combat experience and his arm is on point. There’s a 1 on 1 fight where it’s fairly even near the end and I feel like Bucky should waste the guy.

On a personality level though Bucky is finally getting past his old feelings of guilt so I think we’ll see a more confident version of him if we get a season 2. It’s no secret that I’ve never been a Bucky fan in just about any incarnation but he’s not bad here. At least I’m glad we don’t have to deal with the mind control and such anymore. Now he works pretty well as an anti-hero and the banter with him and Falcon is always a positive. His super rushed romance that doesn’t go anywhere could have been skipped though.

Finally we have Karli. In case you couldn’t guess, I was not a big fan of hers. In part it’s because I don’t exactly see her group having any tangible ways to make the world a better place. Okay, she’s upset that half the world came back and destroyed the world unity that people had. Since she can’t destroy half of the population to bring things back to normal (Although I wonder if that was the plan pre-Covid. If it was, then that changes everything) how does she propose the world make this situation work? She doesn’t offer any solutions throughout the whole show.

Presumably she tried peaceful options earlier based on her dialogue but we never even learn what her proposal is. She always goes right to burning buildings and beating people up so there isn’t even any kind of agenda that you can get behind. Ultimately that’s why I can’t get behind Karli because her group didn’t seem to even have a tangible goal.

There’s also a guest star that shows up here but I won’t go into that here as it’s probably the first guest star from one of these shows that I didn’t even know was in it. So that was a nice surprise and her role is pretty good. She gets to show off her skills rather quickly. Including cameos and guest appearances like this also helps to cement this as something really in the universe which is always nice to see.

As always Marvel delivers with a lot of impressive effects here. The show does really feel like you’re watching an extended movie which is always impressive. TV Shows have certainly come a very long way from how they used to be. It probably helps that this is a mini series. I also like how the events seem really important to the movies. With a show like Agents of Shield no matter how many times they may say it was canon or the show would have references, you suspected that nothing big would ever happen because the execs would worry that people wouldn’t watch it. Sure enough, Shield is basically not cannon to the extent that nothing there mattered if you just watch the movies. While the movies could somehow back out of the events for WandaVision and this show, I find that to be 99% unlikely. There just seems like no way it would be possible. The events here are massive which is nice to see.

Overall, Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a pretty good show. We have a solid cast of characters and a lot of interesting plots going on. I do think the two heroes did really overstep their boundaries as heroes and acted like vigilantes quite a bit. Not a problem as I rather enjoy vigilantes but it’s never really portrayed that way which is odd. You’d think they would be full fugitives by the end of the film no matter what results they got. I particularly enjoyed John Walker’s character arc as he tried to use the mantle well and be the best hero he could be. Whenever I see him swinging Cap’s shield around I do wonder how people don’t straight up get murdered though. Never forget that the shield is made up of Vibranium. You feel like a single shot would utterly shatter someone. I think this show has a better chance of getting a season 2 compared to WandaVision but at the same time the odds are still small since this will probably continue on into the movies. If you haven’t seen this show yet then I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

Assassin’s Creed Review


Assassin’s Creed is one of those video game series I haven’t played but I do see the games all over. Plenty of their characters have fought on the blog and if you’re a fan of parkour then it seems like it delivers on that. The games always have events happening in various time periods. Well, the film changes things quite a bit while taking a stab at one adventure. It’s a pretty good film although if you’re a big fan of the games it will probably be hard to get past the changes.

The movie starts with Cal witnessing his father murder his mother. The guy tells Cal to run so he does. The lead grows up as a very aggressive guy and after murdering a criminal is sent to a special jail. The staff there will be using an experimental time travel device on him so he will inhabit the psyche of his ancestor. They want him to find the golden apple or at least the location of it. The apple is what grants humanity free will so whoever has it in their possession will become immensely powerful.

So part of the film takes place in the present while parts take place in the past due to this neural link. I can say right away that the present timeline plot is a lot more interesting for me. The setting is effectively a jail for metahumans after all and you can see how things would be pretty interesting there. Down the road you could have some kind of war and if one such jail exists, I’m sure many more do. There are probably undercover bases all over.

The neural links also allow you to use the fighting abilities of your previous incarnation when you were an assassin. This means that the fighters are all very well trained so Cal goes from not having any real fighting abilities to suddenly being a top notch fighter. He’s able to take down dozens of opponents at once even though they also have enhanced abilities. His are just on another level.

I liked the fight scenes a lot here because of how stylized they are. I’ve always enjoyed the arm blade style weapons that the Creed films are well known for and they are put to full display here. You can imagine the film easily being rather violent as characters are getting ripped to shreds and beheaded but with the stylized approach most of it is actually rather bloodless. The enemies either turn into apparitions as we see what’s happening in the present or they just go down instantly. As a result despite the constant action, the film really isn’t very violent at all.

Since the assassins are meant to be rather subtle fighters, it does make sense that they wouldn’t be making much of a mess. There are a lot of fights throughout the movie so you will have no shortage of action scenes. There is less parkour than you would expect though. Cal does run around jumping on roofs and such and doing the big jumps from the games but that’s about it. It’s not something that happens super often but maybe that’s because the past doesn’t get as big a role as you would expect.

Again, that is for the best though. The present timeline is just a lot better. You have a lot of solid architecture and meetings there. Such as the corporate group led by Alan who wants to use the apple to take own the assassins. Alan makes for a decent villain although he’s not exactly a fighter so he just talks a good game.

Sofia is a much more interesting character. She is a villain because she cosigns on everything going on but you can tell she isn’t as absolutely evil as Alan. She does have good intentions even if they don’t always work out. Sofia would certainly get a big role if this film ever gets a sequel.

Honestly I would say Cal is the only other big character in the film. Sure, there are a few others like his companions in the past, present, and his father but their roles are fairly small. His father gets one of the most sudden scenes where he stabs a guard but gets finished off immediately afterwards. Also yes, I didn’t buy into the reason for why the father had to murder the mother. I don’t care if the army after them was huge, they’re assassins and escaping is what they are supposed to do best. Destroying an ally is always just a fancy way of saying you give up.

As for Cal, he’s a pretty solid character. Definitely one who is consumed by rage for pretty much the entirety of the film though. He’s gone through quite a lot and finally takes matters into his own hands by the end of it. Cal is in a pretty interesting spot for the sequel and one of the reasons why the sequel would have a lot of potential since the present should be the main focus now. There’s a whole lot more you can do with that than the past.

The film has a bit of a slow beginning though as you could say the movie doesn’t really start until Cal uses the machine. The flashback of him as a boy doesn’t really add to anything and just walking around the prison doesn’t make for the most interesting scenes. It’s a waste of the present timeline since you want to see the grand outside world and how society will react to the Assassins. That’s where the climax pays off.

As for the past, well I’ve referenced it a lot but it’s hard to be as engaged in that era. I’ve never been a fan of the past after all since the graphics aren’t as good and the backdrops don’t look as nice. There’s not a whole lot there to capture my attention at any given point. You have people dying left and right as Cal/Past Cal has to try and avenge them. Maybe if we had time to actually give some of the characters a real personality this could have worked but there was no time for that.

Additionally, you are just waiting for them to get to the present the whole time so there’s no way for it to actually leave an impact. I know the past is a crucial part of the Creed series but that’s why some of the changes here were good to get rid of that aspect. Throw us into the present for the real action. The only thing the past scenes were good for were all of the extra fight scenes as Cal took the villains down by the busload.

As for the soundtrack, it’s not all that noticeable. I would make the case we only get one really solid track which plays in the final minutes of the film. Right after the final scene in the present with the apple and Sofia’s decision, we get a theme that is likely taken straight from the games. Beyond that, it’s all rather standard fare.

Overall, Assassin’s Creed is one of those films that focuses on action over story which is always a decent move to make. It’s definitely not an all star film like Mortal Kombat or anything like that but it’s a pretty good movie. it’s fairly long so there’s a lot of time for battles and setting up the sequel. I’d make the case that a lot of the film is actually sequel bait since it’s all leading up to him escaping and the real adventure beginning. The odds of a sequel seem rather slim like with most video game films but who knows…maybe they’ll pull it off but more likely there will be a reboot at some point.

Overall 7/10

WIXOSS Diva (A) Live Review


Wixoss has returned although this time we’ve got a completely new cast, rule set and a world that’s so different this may as well be a hard reboot. Whenever a series decides to sort of go back to the drawing board it can be fun to see the new characters even if you end up missing the old ones. Aside from Pokemon, virtually every long running merchandise show has done this like Yugioh, Beyblade, Digimon, Cardfight, Buddyfight, etc. It’s just the way it goes so maybe this is a good sign that Wixoss still has a big future ahead of it. It’s a fun season that is going for more of a slice of life feel than the previous ones. Don’t expect the fate of the world to be in the balance but you can expect a lot of action.

The story picks up by explaining that the game of Wixoss has gotten incredibly big over the years. The top team was known as the Eternal Girls but they faded away into retirement very suddenly. Now the best team in the world is known as Deus Ex Machina and all of the idols strive to match that team. See, the battles are now 3 on 3 and those who fight in the arena as known as Divas. You are expected not only to win but also to put on a good show while you do it. You have to sing, dance, and show the world that you have skills as an idol as well as a player.

Hirana is a girl who really wants to compete with the best of the best but her two partners aren’t really into the game and so they aren’t the most powerful members of the group. Hirana heads to a show to watch some real opponents when she is baited into a fight. Fortunately, the cold hearted Rei happened to be around and Hirana’s good friend Akino who doesn’t like being in the spotlight. This team ends up coming together and winning so they decide to stick through with it.

It won’t be as easy as all of that though because each of these characters bring some baggage along with them. Rei has broken many teams apart because of how cold she appears to be. She wants to win at all costs and doesn’t accept anything less than 100% in every battle. If her teammates don’t live up to this then she leaves. Hirana is sure that Rei is still a good person but the rumors are flying around everywhere.

I will say though that Rei never appears to be nearly as cold as her reputation. Really if you take any scene she is in, you could make the case someone like Sailor Mars or Jupiter may have been colder at times. Rei does have skill though and does seem to be the most talented member of the trio. She’s a fun character and is always willing to try and handle the drama on her own so the rest of the team can relax. She’s selfless and gets the job done.

Then you have Akino and as I mentioned, she does not like the spotlight. You feel bad for her because she did step in to defend Hirana’s honor and overcame her shyness temporarily. It was never expected to be a long running thing though. That was supposed to be one and down, yet Hirana and Rei continue to pressure her to enter again. Ultimately Akino is too nice to turn them down but she probably should have just stayed firm if that really wasn’t her thing.

Especially since you have to dance and sing as well and her auto costume isn’t exactly the most conservative one. You feel like the deck is stacked against her here. From the main 3 she would have to be my least favorite member. I don’t blame her for not wanting to have to go on stage because it isn’t for everyone but I think she should have been more resolute about this. Either you’re in or you’re out.

As for Hirana, she’s definitely a very solid main character. She’s a classic lead who’s all about wanting to win every battle. Her catch phrase is that there are no limits so you always have a chance to win if you put your mind to it. There’s not a whole lot to her beyond that level of determination but it’s enough to build a solid character around. That trait has always been a solid one after all so it would certainly work out in a character.

She is tested after getting wrecked in a lot of battles though. You do have to wonder how much virtual damage you experience in this game. It seems like the games can actually get rather painful which is a little odd but maybe it’s just because it happened so many times in a row. I was pretty skeptical about the climax there to say the least but if it was painful then I can see how it would be traumatic.

Either way Hirana did stay in there for a while though and battled many times so I wouldn’t hold that against her. Her abilities are definitely the real deal and she did well playing in the center position despite not having a whole lot of practice earlier. She also put a lot of time into studying which is important.

Of course they aren’t the only team here so lets look at some of the others. First there is the music team led by Nana. I would say next to Deus Ex Machine this is the best team. They are a well rounded bunch who always put up a good fight and Nana is one of the best supporting characters. She isn’t afraid to throw in some music puns and also has a lot of confidence. She doesn’t give up as easily as most of the other characters and she can duel really well. Her teammates don’t get to do as much but they’re around for support.

Then there is Dr. Tamago’s team. They are all about using data to calculate victory and such. Usually there’s always at least one team for that. They’re a good team but relying on data will always be a rather dangerous way to go about things. You can only learn so much about the heroes without improving the skills of your own group. Her teammates were Big Bang and Koeru. I’ll give Big Bang this, it’s cool that they had an actual A.I. as a sentient partner, it’s a nice twist even if she still doesn’t really get a role.

Next up is one of the more powerful teams and one of the only groups where all 3 members get a big role. This is Mujika’s team and the big deal is that her teammates were Rei’s old group. Mujika gets a lot of hype when she first appears because she’s effectively on the level of the pros. That means that the heroes can’t afford to underestimate her although in a 3 on 3 battle it seems like that’s not something that matters a whole lot anyway. She’s a reasonable fighter though and also helps to stop the drama with the others.

Then you have Madoka who is rather naïve and one of the weaker characters. I won’t go into detail about the falling out with Rei here since it’s a rather big plot point but it goes back to the whole issue where a character just takes someone’s word at face value without even trying to contact the actual person being discussed. It’s like if person C tells A, “Hey, B doesn’t want to be your friend anymore” and you just say “Wow!” Madoka needed to do a lot more ground work here to be honest so a lot of this is on her. She’s not a bad duelist as she actually put up a pretty decent fight against Rei but ultimately she couldn’t quite manage to claim victory there.

The third member is Sanga and she has to be the worst member of the trio. In fact, I would go as far as to say she was the worst character in the series. She’s one of those really petty characters who gets away with a whole lot without any real consequences. The worst part is that Sanga doesn’t regret anything aside from being caught. She doesn’t get as much as a stern talking to here so there was no going back for her. Characters can make mistakes, but her decisions were no accident.

Mikoto’s team are fairly big supporting characters although they aren’t nearly as skilled as a lot of the other teams. They put up a good fight in the opening episode but that’s about it. Mikoto’s all about winning at any cost even if it means breaking the rules and playing dirty. In her mind, whatever you got to do in order to win is what you have to do. Certainly a rather intense mentality on that and one that won’t get her far. She was pretty entertaining though and makes for a very fun villain.

Then you have the big team Deus Ex Machina. The main member naturally has the biggest role here and she’s a fun character. We get the classic plot of her meeting up with Hirana in the real world so they don’t recognize each other only to later fight in the cyber world. It’s definitely a bit of a shock to the lead especially since Deus and the others are much more aggressive on the playing field. The other two members don’t get quite as much to do but the time is rather limited for them.

I wouldn’t mind Deus Ex Machine getting more of a central role going forward. Their team is clearly pretty well focused and they’ve been through a lot to get this far. With their level of skill and ability there is no one on the whole planet (Aside from a possible return of the Eternal Girls) who can even challenge them. Effectively these girls have successfully become world champions which is no small feat. So it was fun to see them. If the virtual damage is really high then the leader may have been excessive when beating Hirana up but if it wasn’t then I think the whole thing was fairly normal despite being portrayed as rather intense. Keep in mind that Hirana has to formally accept each challenge in order for it to continue.

One side character who doesn’t do a lot here but contributes behind the scenes is Azami. She runs the card shop and if you’re any card show beyond Yugioh (Where Yugi’s Grandpa never helped) then you know that she can probably fight. We learn a lot about her and her character arc has a satisfying conclusion. I’ll admit that I was hoping she could have actually fought a bit but I guess that would have to be a season 2 kind of thing. You can probably guess at least part of her story as soon as she appears just because it’s that kind of series. Azami was fun so I’ll expect good things from her.

Pretty much the whole season here is about nonstop tournaments and battles so that was always fun. As soon as one battle ends the next one is usually right around the corner. I’m pretty sure there was a battle in each episode. Now granted, while I would effectively call this a true slice of life, the show tries adding some stakes at the very end. See there is an actual plan beyond just having Deus Ex Machina knock the stuffing out of everyone.

A lot of the Wixoss players are rather soft so just losing once is enough to get them to retire. The “villain” of the show figures that she will get all of the weak players to retire so the game of Wixoss can be pure once more. It’s just too over saturated right now. Here’s the problem….that’s actually not a bad plan. Think about it, there’s nothing evil, illegal, or even morally bankrupt here. She’s not going around insulting the players or bending the rules. Literally the plan is to have the best team welcome all challengers on TV and win within the rules. Their power is just so incredible that a lot of people realize they can’t match up and retire.

There’s nothing problematic here at all. In fact, if you’re going to completely quit a game because you lost once…then you weren’t going to stick around with it either. The villain here is just speeding up the process and it has another positive benefit of giving the Deus team some new challengers since they were clearly bored. The side characters with the right attitude like Nana were also thrilled to have a chance to fight the top team in the world.

So the plan wasn’t nearly as bad as the show would have you believe. For that reason I wouldn’t even consider the “villain” to be evil or even an antagonist. It’s just a nice marketing plan she has that some characters overreact to. I suppose it did give some drama to the final bouts though so that’s always fun. The battles with Deus Ex are undeniably the best part of the season and they stole the show.

In general the show’s just very entertaining so that’ll keep you invested throughout. The main characters have a good dynamic about them. The cast is also at a reasonable size so in the 12 episodes all of the captains get to do something. Their teammates may just be around at times instead of making a name for themselves but it’s all juggled rather well. The writing is on point as well.

The show does manage to squeeze in some fanservice of course so that’s a bit of a downer. It’s nothing too crazy but just the usual tropes of transformation scenes that get recycled in each episode and one beach episode. It’s nothing too crazy but it does all feel rather pointless like the show is going through the motions of adding this because it’s just expected at this point. Akina is the worst example of this since her whole point is that she’s timid and she doesn’t like people staring at her. Why wouldn’t she change her costume? Don’t tell me you can’t change your costume in a futuristic world that is centuries beyond Earth tech. I won’t buy that for a second, it would make 0 sense not to have such a feature. So every episode she has on the same costume is one where you’ll shake your head at that.

At least the animation is solid though. I wouldn’t say it looks quite as good as the original seasons of Wixoss which may be a slight shot since those are older at this point. I don’t know why a newer version wouldn’t look as good but maybe the budget was slashed for this season? It would explain the transition to more of a slice of life setting with less focus on the battles since you don’t need as many solid animation effects there. It also would explain the constant recycled animation in each episode as they transform into their Diva forms.

The soundtrack is really good as well. Part of what helps is that every team has their own signature song so the ost is quite varied. Nana’s team has the best team song but all of the tracks are pretty good. It’s got that classic techno vibe which is always fun to see. Nothing can beat the opening to Wixoss season 4, but the opening and endings here are solid as well.

Much like the earlier seasons this one doesn’t bother explaining the rules much. I still feel like this is a super convenient way for the writers to do whatever they want. You’ll have a character getting blackmailed into not attacking for 8 turns only to suddenly win on the 9th when they can fight back. The rules are so completely lopsided that nothing makes sense. Now that it’s 3 on 3 this only gets more and more noticeable as the characters on the side can level their cards up whenever they want and enter the battle.

The show never makes it clear what each role is or how the battles work. You may as well be watching a game of chance. It’s why I said earlier that the skill levels don’t seem to matter. Whether you’re a pro or it’s your first week of battling it just doesn’t seem to matter at all. That’s one thing the show really needs to work on. The rules need to at least be modestly explained for anyone to take the battles seriously. Otherwise you don’t even need to try and follow along since it doesn’t really matter towards who wins.

Overall, Wixoss Diva is a good follow up to the other series. It does feel like it’s taking the franchise in a very different direction. It’s not trying to be part thriller with showing us the horrors of being a magical girl. This one’s a very up beat slice of life about girls trying to be the top Diva fighters in the world. I expect we may start to ramp up the stakes in a season two but maybe they will actually play it straight. So long as you go into this knowing that it’s not going to be an action title you should have a good time. It’s a well balanced show and tournaments are all the plot you need in these shows. Just seeing the heroes enter battles and win as they rise up the ranks is fun. Now I just hope that if we get a sequel we get to see the Eternal Girls fight this time. Of course the best thing to do would be to bring back some of the older characters into real supporting or even main roles to hype up a crossover.

Overall 7/10

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: Rimuru’s Glamorous Life as a Teacher Review


That title’s definitely a mouthful isn’t it? In theory I could have taken out the franchise title since you don’t always need to have that as part of the intro but in this case it did make sense. This one’s a 3 episode special about Rimuru’s days as a teacher. It’s a fun little adventure and works well in this universe where Rimuru already does get to have a lot of down time between battles. You can picture him hanging out at the school for a while to flex and show why he’s a better teacher than the rest. It’s a solid adventure that goes by in a flash.

The special starts with Rimuru slacking off at school as per usual when Jeff shows up. This teacher has always had something against Rimuru. Rimuru doesn’t know if it’s because he’s always slacking off or the guy is just jealous that he transformed the most problematic class into the most powerful one. Either way Jeff lets him know that a big protection test is coming up at the school and as always Rimuru’s class won’t be invited since they don’t have equipment. Rimuru quickly changes that so now his class can in fact enter. The rules are simple, the kids will drive a van/wagon past the mountain plains and into town where they will drop off the teacher unharmed. They will all then participate in a cave challenge fighting monsters.

To keep things fair, the students will be guarding different teachers. So for example Jeff’s students will be guarding Rimuru and his students will be guarding another teacher named Tiss. Your points are based on how quickly you make it to the castle along with how smooth a ride it was. Rimuru’s not particularly concerned since his kids are far more powerful than your average class. They each have spirit animals and basic offensive magic skills at the ready. Still, this trip may be more dangerous than they had expected.

The special does deliver on the action as the kids are inevitably attacked by bandits. They handle them rather well and then even have to fight off an actual demon. They don’t look quite as good in that battle but I don’t think anyone would have been quite prepared to handle this guy. Not only does he have regeneration but he is also very fast and powerful. Such a foe is completely outside the limits of a usual school test. Fortunately we had Diablo show up to clean things up by the end. The guy continues to prove why he is one of the best characters in the series which is why it’s almost a bit funny that he hasn’t technically appeared in the main show yet outside of a cliffhanger, a prequel episode, and now an extra episode.

You can tell he will definitely make a splash when he gets a proper role. There’s also a bit of an epilogue as Rimuru helps cure a fatal illness because he’s just that good. One thing you figure out very quickly while watching the slime adventures is that there isn’t much that Rimuru can’t do. Thanks to Great Sage he is a super genius and he has so many extra abilities that he is also a whiz at combat. This makes him pretty much untouchable to at least 90% of the cast which is no small feat. He’s a fun character and definitely looks good in these episodes.

Then you have the rival Jeff who is fun. I mean, you know he is completely and utterly out of his league in the fight but it doesn’t take away from his being a rather amusing character. It’s always fun seeing these characters give the lead a hard time, particularly when like here it isn’t overdone. He’s not trying to frame Rimuru or do anything drastic, he just throws out a lot of insults.

Then you have the third teacher Tiss. She’s a nice person but you feel like she should be a lot stronger than she is. My main issue is that she looked up to Shizu as a great role model and aspires to be as powerful as her. You would expect that she would have started training then right? Unfortunately she acts like she has never held a sword a day in her life. How does that work out? It just doesn’t make any sense no matter how you slice it. I’m hoping when she next appears she would have gotten a lot stronger.

Meanwhile the kids are good, they continue to defy expectations and actually appear as very solid characters. I would say the weakest of the group is Gale mainly because the guy barely seems to have any character next to the others. Kenya is a blast though and is always ready to charge the enemy. With his sword and design he looks like someone out of Dragon Quest. Then you have Chloe who is also always ready for battle. Her chosen weapon may not be the best one but she makes up for it in hidden talent. Then you have Alice who is quite possibly the most powerful of the kids. She is a little more on the timid side but definitely fights when it counts. Ryota is also a fairly quiet kid so you won’t see him make a name for himself, but he is there ready and willing to help at all times.

While the special is a fairly light hearted endeavor, the action scenes are pretty serious. Kenya actually sliced off one guy’s arm which was unexpected but of course the guy had a potion to regenerate it. I’m glad Kenya had been prepared for this though. The kids put up a brave stand against the demon as well which was nice to see and of course this led to Diablo stealing the show as always. It was a great climax and the perfect way to end the special. If you merge the three parts this works quite well as a mini movie. It’s got a complete plot and while Rimuru doesn’t get to do a whole lot in terms of fighting here, he’ll have plenty of chances in the main series anyway. This one really focuses on why he is known as such a great teacher. He may be rather hands off in his approach but his sheer genius makes up the difference.

The animation is on par with the main show. It’s a very solid display for the character designs and backdrops. I definitely have no complaints with how anything looked. The soundtrack is also taken from the show so this is good as well. It is able to really capture the feeling of just being another pair of episodes which is good. It’s a seamless transition. The pacing is on point so this will also keep your interest all the way through.

Overall, This was a fun trilogy of episodes. I wouldn’t say there is a ton more to discuss since it’s a rather straight forward plot. It’s a quick challenge to see which class is best and we all know that Rimuru’s absolutely destroyed the others no matter what Jeff says. Of course, they all have super powers and spirit boosters so it may not be super fair, but that’s neither here nor there. I’d be cool with Jeff returning in the main series for more of a rivalry with Rimuru from time to time. The kids also still want to visit Rimuru’s village so I assume that is probably going to happen soon. If you want a fun little adventure to see the old characters again this is definitely a good special to check out.

Overall 7/10

Assassination Classroom Review


Time to look at Assassination Classroom, definitely a title that was a pretty big hit everywhere. This is one of those shows that definitely got a lot of attention while it was around. It had a pretty cool premise and a lot of potential although it ended up holding itself back. The first season makes for a pretty fun adventure. You’ll get to see the exploits of a supernatural teacher as he tries to get Class E into shape. Of course they’re all in Class E for a reason so this won’t be as easy as it seems.

The show starts by explaining that a mysterious being has blown up 755 of the world. He makes a deal with humanity. He won’t blow up the Earth yet but then he will get to teach a classroom of kids how to be great academics as well as assassins. They have 1 year in which to destroy Koro-sensei. If they are unable to complete this mission, then he will blow up the planet. As part of the deal, the government and other fighters can try to murder him as well so long as it doesn’t interfere with the classroom. Additionally, he is not allowed to harm any of the students so it’s a pretty generous deal right? At the same time, what can some kids do against an alien like Koro who moves at mach speed and travels the world on a whim?

From the human characters Nagisa is definitely the main one. He doesn’t have a whole lot of confidence in part because he has never found anything that he is really good at. He tries a lot of things but nothing ever turns out to be a perfect match for him. This class changes everything as he finds out he has a knack for being an assassin. Definitely not the career path he had initially thought of but it could be perfect for this role.

Part of the trouble though is the kids start to doubt if they want to destroy Koro. He seems like a really nice guy and at the end of the day all of his tips and tricks help make them better people. Kuro is always teaching the kids things they didn’t even know about themselves and they are all the stronger for it. Nagisa’s a good character. He could definitely use more confidence but he does get better as the season goes on. He’s got a very tangible character arc there.

The best character has to be Karma though. He’s essentially the opposite of Nagisa. This guy is incredibly confident but also a complete delinquent. He isn’t afraid to attack a teacher or get into fights with gang members. These are skills that help him a lot in this class but would definitely put him in a pickle for normal studies. It’s part of why he’s in Class E since technically his academic abilities are some of the best in the class. Karma can effectively do anything as a student but at the same time this does cause him to be overconfident. While all of the kids seem doomed against Koro since he can move faster than they can even think, at least Karma comes up with a lot of great plans to stop him.

He steals the show in the big story arcs as well like when he faces off against one of the pro assassins’ who can crush anyone with a single grab. Karma also does well against a group of thugs who attack his classmates and on some who tried bullying Nagisa. At the end of the day you can always count on him to defend his allies. Karma definitely didn’t have the easiest time growing up but he puts all of his energy into helping out his classmates in Class E so what else could you ask for from the guy?

Then we have the teacher himself. Well, Koro is definitely a very complex character. On one hand, he clearly has a whole lot of skill even aside from his super abilities. He’s got an analytical mind and is serious about being a teacher so he builds an individual curriculum for each of the kids. That being said, he doesn’t like to show this side of him to the point where he goes all out in making himself look as bad as possible.

Where Koro’s character really gets ruined is in how he is responsible for bringing quite a bit of the fanservice into the show. He is obsessed with reading certain magazines or falling for other characters’ wiles. He has enough ability to purposefully fall into a trap an still escape after all. It may all be an act but he has so much fun with it that it is impossible to find the guy likable. It would be nice if he was serious all the time but it happens so rarely that he even tends to get embarrassed afterwards. Koro’s good at teaching but he’s a bad character overall.

That is the show’s greatest weak point though. It does have a considerable amount of fanservice throughout the show. Mainly this shows up every time Irina appears or for some of Koro’s gags. Irina is the main culprit though. It’s unfortunate since she is a pro agent who actually has a good amount of skills but unfortunately she was trained in the art of seduction as well which the show likes to focus on. She isn’t afraid to mess with the students either if she thinks it will help her out which is definitely rather shameless. This is why she won’t be able to catch up to Karasuma.

Karasuma is an excellent character and definitely one of the standouts in the show. He can fight really well and definitely acts like a full commander. Without him the kids would be in a bit of a tricky spot but with him you feel like they have a chance…at least as much as Koro lets them have one anyway. Against any human you can expect Karasuma to take the win because of his high degree of skill. That said, Koro is a different beast entirely.

One thing that’s a little different here compared to most titles is that the goal appears to be impossible. In Naruto you can picture him becoming Hokage some day. He may be weak at the start but he knows Ninjutsu and has a Fox inside of him so he can pull it off. Same with Luffy becoming Pirate King as he has a Devil fruit and all. The kids destroying Koro? It’s hard to picture because they are just normal kids and he’s a being that can move faster than a fighter jet. I forget exactly what speed they said he is, mach 50 or something. What’s more important is what you see him do. Koro is so fast he is able to have 20 different conversations at the same time with various after images. He is able to play full sport games by himself on both teams. He can move with such crazy speed that the humans can’t possibly even hope to see him.

Because of that, there is no goal to achieve. The kids can study for thousands of years and never get fast enough to stop Koro without some kind of upgrades because they are pure humans. In that sense, this is probably one of the only series I can think of where the goal is actually 100% impossible. There is just nothing the heroes can do to stop him at least without changing the very formula of the series. Koro just lets them think they are close. He has a lot of weaknesses such as water, getting distracted, letting his guard down, etc. At the same time, you feel like aside from the water he makes up the rest of the weaknesses to help their self esteem.

What the heroes need are more supernatural creatures of their own. There is the mysterious Shiro who is an interesting figure because he actually made another tentacle type monster to fight wit Koro. Now this is the kind of guy you can see accomplishing his goals because this adds a layer of supernatural elements to the mix. Of course he’s a villain though so if he blows up Koro that might be dangerous. At the same time though….maybe the humans have a better chance against these guys so perhaps they should help assist?

It brings you back to their dilemma of wondering if they really want to murder Koro. At the very least they don’t want someone else doing it but that could just be denial. It’s an interesting predicament but I will say I’m on the side of not destroying him. Clearly Koro doesn’t seem like a bad guy here. The whole threat to destroy the Earth sounds intense but it’s hard to say if he’s really on the level or not. At the very least, you get the feeling that murdering him just doesn’t sound right. If he tries to destroy the world then you stop him at that point (Not that they can) but not before.

Back to the characters though, one of the students is named Kaede and you could say she is probably Nagisa’s best friend. She’s not very loud compared to the others but she is always willing to help out. She’s a very low key student who is always around though. Then you have Sugino who is good at sports. He tends to take things with a more light hearted attitude next to the other characters and does leave a good impression on you. It’s not likely that you will remember each student a whole lot but the show does try to give everyone at least one episode so they stand out.

For a more powerful student you have Itona who is the tentacle opponent I referenced earlier. He definitely has one of the more impressive entrances in the show as he just walks through a wall to challenge Koro. He also got some pretty intense music and was able to dodge Karma’s insult and then respond in kind. Itona isn’t really used to being around the other kids and acting normal since he focuses completely on battle. He makes for a fun antagonist though and it’s nice to have someone who can keep up with Koro.

Stepping away from the students for a minute, you have Gakuho, the principal of the school. Next to Karma he is the best character. This guy is incredibly impressive because of his intimidating presence and the fact that he is a principal who can fight. He’s not just going to be sitting around giving lectures. No, this is one of those guys who is absolutely ready to fight at any given moment as seen when he literally made someone eat paper and also when he caught a soccer ball at a speed that shattered windows.

He’s probably the only character in the series to not show even the slightest bit of fear against Koro. He’s probably the only person to actually get a clean win against the guy as well. This guy is definitely a scene stealer and I really like that confidence. He is definitely a villain no matter how you slice it though. We find out he created Class E purely as a way to make the other students have someone below them. It’s a diabolical scheme that improves grades through fear as nobody wants to go to Class E. He allows the other classes to pick on them and insult the kids as well in order to boost morale. It’s quite the vicious tactic and no matter how effective it may be, you can see how it’s not the right thing to do.

Then you have his son Gakusho who is also a lot of fun. While he may not have matched the level of his Dad yet, he does want to ultimately surpass him. Whenever he appears he is trying to find some way to close the gap between them although this is easier said than done. His abilities are still top tier though so he can keep up with any of the kids no problem. He has a good rivalry going with Karma as well. His introduction along with the rest of Class A was a really good way to amp up the stakes for the exam arc.

The show handles the exams in a fun way where it looks like the heroes enter a gladiator arena or an RPG to battle monsters. Each question is a monster with the most powerful ones appearing as boss creatures. This was just a good way to make each scene interesting. In general I thought the animation was quite solid here. The colors are very striking with everyone’s distinct hair colors being a good way to tell them apart. All of the character designs are different enough where you could even without the hair I suppose, but it helped ensure that each scene was always colorful. In fact, the animation is even a whole tier above Astra Lost in Space which came out by the same studio a few years later so it shows how much effort was put into this one. In particular aside from the eyes you have the striking eyes which really have a lot of intensity on any zoom in. I think there this show was able to show off the animation was in the impact shots where they put in a lot of shading and contrast effects. The animation was very impressive.

The action scenes are also on point when they happened as well. This may not be a full blown action scene but there were different mini arcs where you would get a fight and they always tended to look good. I also enjoyed the ost. The danger theme such as when Itona burst through the door is definitely the best track of the bunch. It has good range though so you should easily find a good track that you enjoy.

Back to the characters, Ritsu was another student who got a big role here. As an A.I. she is certainly a very different kind of student. Her debut episode was fun as she decided to mess with everyone to the point where they eventually decided to ban her entirely. Her arsenal of weapons is no joke. After her initial appearance she never quite gets a big role like that again but she is always around and tends to be more useful than some of the other students.

Then there is Terasaka who is the most annoying of the students and dare I say he may be the worst one? You can’t trust him for beans and strength is his whole thing but he would lose in a fight to Nagisa or Karma. His whole character just got nullified in an instant. I could brush that all aside if he wasn’t someone who was quick to betray the others but that’s just not the case here. As a result, his character gets a thumbs down.

Finally you have one of the big villains, Akira. This guy gets a decent amount of hype since he is one of the only characters to appear more than once. As a full fledged adult he makes for a difficult opponents for the kids to face off against. Karasuma or Koro could handle him no problem but it’s a different matter for the students. He even assembled a team of assassins which made for a fun mini arc. Some of them were definitely on the real crazy side like the guy who keeps munching on his gun but they all had skills. Akira comes off as really petty next to the other characters though as his life’s mission is to beat up on a kid.

Now, one thing with this show that sticks out more than most is you feel like the kids never truly have a shot against the adults. I’d say the reason for that is because the show is set up as a much more realistic experience than most Shounen titles. So these kids really are just kids. I mean they move with more anime speed than a normal kid of course but the adults still seem out of their level. With the assassins the show gives us a good reason why the fights went the way they did, but for the Akira fight I think you’ll always be a bit skeptical of those moments. I remember during the manga I kept thinking there would be a big time skip to where the main characters are adults but I guess there would need to be a good reason on why Koro just didn’t blow up the planet.

The power levels aren’t enough to change the score or anything but something that’s just worth a note. Either way the show establishes that Karasuma is still the strongest so there’s just usually a story reason why he can’t run in and save the day. Of course there are more characters I could mention but I would say these are the key ones. The next season should also introduce more characters as we still don’t know exactly what happened in Koro’s past. That should be a fun plot point and of course we need some closure for the principal. There’s still a lot of adventures to be had.

Overall, That’s the first season of Assassination Classroom. It’s a well balanced show with a colorful cast and a good amount of action. I’d call the series more of an adventure comedy as we see the characters try out different plans against Koro as opposed to a lot of big fights. That said, I guess those would fall under general action so that works as a genre as well. Their most impressive attempt was near the end of the season at the hotel resort where they set up a ton of explosives and even a TV as they tried getting Koro in a tight spot. It’s another reminder that he is just out of their league though. If you could just tone down the fanservice a good amount and improve Koro-sensei’s character then this show would be able to make it to the next level. Still, if you’re looking for an interesting anime to watch with a fun atmosphere then this is a good one to check out. Definitely be on the lookout for the hype principal.

Overall 6/10

Tower of God


With the anime review out now I figured I’d also post the web toon post. Of course this series is still going to I’ll have a review up for it when it ends. It’s definitely shaping up to be the most elaborate universe I’ve seen since One Piece with how many different factions are running around. The cast is huge at this point with a huge variance in power levels so I look forward to seeing how this concludes. It’s my first manwa/manhua and paints a very impressive picture of them to be sure. The art is really nice and it goes without saying that the characters are spectacular.

Tower of God Review


Tower of God is one of those anime titles you saw everywhere. The amount of promotion it got was insanely widespread which is impressive. I’ll give Crunchyroll this, they absolutely know how to promote their materials. I would argue ToG and that tournament show got way more promotion than their third webtoon production but I guess by that point they felt the awareness was pretty good. You couldn’t turn the corner without seeing this one and now I’ve gotten to check it out. It’s an excellent anime to be sure and it’s the kind of show that gets better and better the more you think about it. Usually when you sit back and relax as you think about a show, movie, or game the score might stabilize a little lower since you’re past the initial excitement. This is one of the reverse cases as I walked away from the show thinking it was great; Then after reading a good chunk of the web comic, thinking about it some more and basically ended up going from re watching some clips to the whole show this is really a masterpiece.

The show starts off with a character explaining what the Tower of God is. It’s a tower that goes up to the heavens and contains everything that exists. Any answers, power, or goal you want can be attained by climbing it. Due to the tower having such prizes, the risks are also great. We then cut to a boy named Bam and a girl named Rachel. Rachel wants to see the stars some day and she tells Bam not to follow her as she vanishes. Bam decides to follow as best he can though because he doesn’t want to be alone anymore. He grew up along in a cave with only Rachel’s visits to break up the monotony of each day.

Bam suddenly appears outside the tower where he is allowed to take the entrance exam. He passes and makes it to the tower’s ground floor. He really doesn’t care about the tower or any secrets it may hold, but he does intend to climb the tower so that he can see Rachel again. He wants to understand more about why she left him and how the stars can be so important. He meets up with a mysterious boy named Khun and a powerful dinosaur hybrid named Rak. Together, these three must rise up the tower and conquer the various tests but can they pull this off?

Right away you can see how this will be quite the ambitious series. The Tower is huge with an unknown amount of floors and each floor has a game/challenge that must be completed in order to make it to the next floor. Each challenge can range from an episode to several and there is always the possibility that you might die. You’ve also got a ton of lore ranging from the 10 great families to Jahad and his Princesses. Then you have the Rankers, assassins, and a bunch of other factions all running around.

Part of the fun of the series is that everything’s all one big mystery. Bam has never even been outside before so he knows nothing about this world. We all have to learn about it along with him and most of the answers won’t even be in season 1. The web comic is around 500 chapter so far and this one covers the first 75 so it’s the tip of the iceberg. It perfectly covers season 1 of the Web comic though so the timing was really on point here.

The writing is also really excellent. A big part of the show are the various mind games as everyone tries to out think the other. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems and while characters may tend to overthink things at times, it pays to be cautious. Around every corner is someone who is absolutely brutal and may slay you without a second thought. The power levels in the universe can also get quite drastic as the characters have to remember that while they may be strong…they are only on floor 1. The higher you go the more crazy the opponents will get.

Right away you can tell that the animation style here is a little different. It seems to be modeled after the web comic and has a little less detail at times. It flows together really well for the action scenes though and the character designs are on point. I definitely liked the animation quite a bit and it does shine for the battles like Hatz vs Anaak or Yuri styling on the others at the end. It’s all very smooth and flows into the next scene well.

Where the series really shines though is with the soundtrack. It’s got a very interesting techno theme. In fact, I’d say for the most part the soundtrack sounded like they got it from Toonami bumpers and commercials. The whole thing felt a lot like I was watching Toonami which is pretty nostalgic and also very unique. It’s not a soundtrack I would have immediately connected to Tower of God but it absolutely worked well.

As for the characters, well I have to say that Bam is probably the blandest main character I’ve seen in a while. It may be a bit strong to say he’s the blandest I’ve ever seen but he has to be in the conversation. He’s always got a lifeless look on his face and is basically a one track character who can only think of Rachel. I have to say I was not a big fan of his. This is one of those titles where all of the supporting characters ended up being more interesting. Not to say that Bam is a bad character but if anything you think of him more like a plot device ready to go see Rachel as opposed to his own person. Due to the ending of the season though, you’ll want to see where he goes from here.

There isn’t a lot to say about Rachel in this season without spoilers. She leaves Bam rather quickly and then he sees someone who looks like her in the tower. Can it possibly be the same person? Either way the fact that she ditched Bam so easily and basically told him to stay in a dark cave by himself will probably set off some warning bells for you. She’s a very interesting character to be sure. She definitely wouldn’t rank as one of my favorite characters or anything but I don’t dislike her. If the show was playing her up as a misguided hero or someone we couldn’t understand then I probably would be in that camp. Again it’s hard to say much more for now but I am intrigued at how her plot goes.

Khun is definitely one of the standout characters here. He’s the strategist of the team and those do tend to be a lot of fun, particularly when they are confident in their abilities. Characters like L, Lelouch, Kurama, Eren, Kurapika, and other strategists who know how to break down a plan and acknowledge their own abilities tend to be great. If you’re a genius who isn’t confident like Armin or to a lesser extent someone humble like Shikamaru tend to not excel quite as high for me. Khun is one of those geniuses who knows he is a genius and tends to rub it in everyone’s face.

That’s part of what makes him such a fun character. Whenever he is on screen you know that something hype is about to happen. Right from his very first appearance you already get a good feeling about him and he ends up being one of the most loyal characters in the show. He’s constantly thinking about how to help Bam. Khun’s physical abilities also seemed very impressive when he was able to speed blitz to the crown so he can fight as needed. Then you have the third member of the group Rak. Now, from all of the big characters in the series I felt like he didn’t live up to the hype as much as some of the others. Mainly because the show has to balance a lot of characters so not everyone gets their chance to shine but Rak doesn’t really get to fight any big opponents.

He talks really tough the whole season so I’m hoping he ends up being very impressive but you start to have your doubts after a while. Still, as a comrade he is absolutely someone you want to have on your team. He may not admit it, but he has a good bond with the other characters as well. His chocolate gimmick is also a lot of fun and his brute force contrast to Khun’s intellectual approach gives their team a lot of balance. They may be at odds a lot of the time but at the end of the day Rak does listen to him.

On one of the other teams we have Shibizu. Like Khun he is also a strategist although he’s more low key about it. He may not be a super genius or anything but he is able to figure out most puzzles rather easily. He doesn’t have a lot of skill as he’s more of a standard human but he has a lot of determination and does his best to help out his friends. Like Bam he’s not super stoked to climb up the tower for any one reason and is able to try and help others out without just thinking about himself.

Then you have Hatz who is my favorite character in the series. It’s a pretty impressive title because this series has quite a few high tier characters such as Endorsi and Khun who could be the best character in many other shows or secondary characters like Anaak and Yuri who are also quite solid. Part of why Hatz is at the top is because his intro scene was dynamite. His line that “running away is only for opponents stronger than me” was really good as he attacked the strongest opponent in the area at the time. His twin blade style is also unique as he throws a sword in the air to block an attack while he deals with the other one. His skills are definitely on point.

Hatz gets quite a few action scenes here so I look forward to him fighting again more soon. The third member of the team Anaak is also a really powerful fighter though and someone who sticks out since she has the title of Princess of Jahad. Her Green April is a tough sword to stop too since it can alter its shape and strike from any angle. It’s the kind of weapon you don’t really want to mess with. Even without it she has a good deal of super strength and speed to back her up as well though. That makes her a very solid all around character. While Hatz has his whole thing about being honor bound at all times, Anaak just wants to crush the Jahad family at any cost. We see her origin story and why she wants to do this as well.

Next up is Hoh and we’re finally at one of the weaker characters in the series. The guy gets jealous from day 1 at how much stronger everyone is and so you can’t help but shake your head whenever he is on screen. You can tell that things are going to get dicey for him from day 1. I’m cool with someone just wanting to go up the tower and not making friends but Hoh’s jealousy just makes him such a petty character. I don’t think he quite deserved the big send off/funeral everyone gave him.

Then you have Serena who is more of a normal human like Shibizu. She has a bit of a rivalry going with him and they have a decent fight. Like Shibizu she feels a little out of place next to these guys who can crush mountains but she does well for as long as she can. Her character arc also has a bit of a surprising end to it so that was not something I had expected. Finally there’s Lauroe from their team who is quite powerful. The guy is constantly sleeping and whenever you have a character who is always asleep you can be sure that he’s hiding away a lot of power. His battle with Anaak was quite impressive and so was his big blast of Shinsu. Not many opponents would have been able to endure that. Lauroe’s a very laid back guy and while the sleeping may be a bit much, he’s a decent character.

Endorsi is another one of the standout characters here. She has absolute confidence in everything she does. Whenever Endorsi is on screen you know that someone is going to get absolutely crushed. It’s part of why she’s so much fun. Her only weakness is that her high heels tend to break which is something the anime has a little fun with. Regardless, in a straight fight you can expect that she would absolutely crush almost anyone in this tournament. Her skill are just off the chart and while she at first tries not to get close to anyone, she eventually gets caught up in the spirit of things. At the same time though, she’s not someone you can easily trust as her goals always take priority. You just have to make sure that your existence isn’t in her way. She was very close to passing Hatz as the best character in the series but at least if we go purely from the anime she is still behind him.

Then for one of the other supporting characters we have Paracule who is just annoying most of the time. He’s incredibly weak and is very quick to betray the other characters when it suits him. He’s not someone you could ever trust and he’s always whining. The character is around mainly to serve as a character to dislike but that doesn’t make him any better. It’s hard to even picture how this guy has made it so far. He is quite lucky that’s for sure.

Yuri doesn’t get a whole lot to do here but that makes sense as her abilities are far beyond anything we are expected to see this early on in the tower. You can think of her as a completed Princess of Jahad. A single blow is enough to destroy multiple giant monsters at once and there are few who could hope to be her equal. Then you have the mysterious gate keeper of the tower known as Headon who tests those who wish to join the challenge. He is definitely someone you can expect to be quite powerful although he hasn’t made a move yet. Whether you’re a regular or an irregular he lets you move up the tower. This guy appears to have big plans so we’ll have to wait and see how it goes.

Then we have some of the rankers like Lero Ro. This guy’s pretty fun. He definitely has a merciless persona to him as he isn’t afraid to put people in their place but at the same time he has more of a conscience than a lot of the other characters. He still wants to have a fair tournament and games here after all and suspects that something is up. He’s quite sharp and has quite a few mind battles with Hansung Yu. I certainly look forward to seeing what he does next. You also have Quant who has a lot of speed at his disposal and is pretty strong in his own right. He’s a lot more headstrong though so you can see how these two would make for a good team. Quant tends to take everything very literally and personally but I like the energy he has. He also does not care for traitors in the slightest.

Hansung Yu is easily the shadiest of the rankers though. He appears to be playing all of the sides so we’ll have to see how that plot goes. He’s also clearly a lot more powerful than he lets on but that makes sense since you would expect the ruler of the floor to be at a high level. Lo Po Bia Ren is one of the assassins’ of the tower and is a bit of an odd ball. He seems to have a real form underneath his animal costume but we never get to see it. It’s also hard to say if he’s still around as if he has more than one body at the ready or if it was a robot. Either way he’s a very intimidating villain to be sure. He doesn’t hold back and has a very creepy vibe to him. He’s not quite able to hold back his giant monsters from attacking either. He’s not really my kind of villain next to most of the others so I wouldn’t rank him too highly but he was a very real threat.

Finally there is Hwa who is a mysterious character. Her first appearance has her taking on Endorsi in a straight fight so her abilities are actually pretty good and she mostly sticks in the background after that. Needless to say it looks like she will be playing a big role coming up. I’m liking her character so far and there’s a lot of potential here.

There are other characters of course but I think that sums up most of the big ones. I tried keeping the review fairly spoiler free so you can jump in and see all of the twists and turns. In adapting 75 chapters into 13 episodes you can bet there are some changes but for the most part the series only cut minor stuff out. A ton of Urek Mazino references were cut for example but he won’t be appearing anytime soon anyway. There were a few questionable changes that could come back to bite them if we get a season 2 though like completely changing one character’s personality in the final episode and Khun’s final conversation in the final episode. Both are things you can easily walk back but do go against what initially happened.

For Endorsi, a good chunk of her one way romance with Bam scenes were cut out but I’m cool with that. In the web comic she is pretty much obsessed with Bam to the point where she is constantly flirting with him so the fact that the show dialed down her character is fine with me. The only change that’s a little regrettable is they cut out quite a few of Bam’s speeches which helped to really make him stand out as a character. Perhaps that is why he came across as bland in the show. In the web comic he has easily become one of the best characters although that’s more due to season 2 content than 1 so this wouldn’t have brought him to the top but it would have helped him rise quite a bit. Either way you are safe to jump straight to season 2 of the web comic if you don’t want to wait for the show.

The show ends on a rather perfect note with how episode 12 finishes also. It’s just such a powerful moment as the credits song plays. Honestly this could have been the perfect way to end although episode 13 is pretty interesting as a way to see a different side of events. It’s a good way to connect the dots and all. That said, the very last shot of the season is definitely a huge spoiler for season 2. I’m thinking it’s mainly there for the web comic fans so they would already know about the twist. In fairness to the show, I think most people figured out the twist in the web comic immediately. It’s sort of like Tobi from Naruto. The instant he appeared most people connected the dots. It’s a similar thing here so it’s nice for fans to see this guy but…I would technically still consider it a spoiler.

It’s rare that there is so much to talk about for such a short series but that’s part of what makes Tower of God fun. The lore is already absolutely massive in the series and it’s why you can easily see this going on for hundreds of episodes. There is so much to cover and I skimmed over most of the lore in this review but the show breaks it down well. I also really enjoy the way the games are presented. Each game is quite unique and you really have to think your way through them in order to win. Just relying on power won’t help although it is useful. I would say it’s a little like Phi Brain in that sense. My favorite game is definitely the Crown game though as that was a blast but a close second is the very first game as the opponents had to be reduced from 400-200. Less strategy in that one but it was a great way to introduce the characters.

Overall, Tower of God is definitely an elite title. There are less than 20 TV shows I’ve ever seen that were able to grab a 9 star rating and this one is good enough to join them. The characters are fantastic and a whole lot happens. It’s rare that you see a show be able to cram so much into each episode but when you’re adapting 75 chapters into 13 episodes it makes sense that you have to move fast. Especially with how big the web comic chapters are. All told, the show is an excellent adaption and I do hope we get season 2 at some points. There’s enough chapters for at least 5 more seasons minimum and since season 2 of the web comic is close to 4 times as large as season 1, a 52 episode season would be pretty nice to see. Either way this is just the tip of the iceberg so I hope the franchise continues on. If you haven’t seen the anime yet then I would recommend changing that right away!

Overall 9/10

Upgrade Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

When you think of getting an upgrade you’re probably thinking of going from cheese fries to loaded at Checkers or maybe trading in your PS2 for a PS5. Well, here we take a more violent approach to the upgrade. The film tries a little too hard with making this as edgy as possible so while it’s a pretty good premise, it’s definitely not a film that will have you singing its praises by the end. Not every film can hit the winning home run though.

The movie starts with Grey finishing a car he had been fixing and Asha returning home from work. He wants her to see the eccentric house of the guy whose car he had fixed. It’s definitely an interesting one but on the way home her electronic car malfunctions and both of them crash. Asha ends up being murdered by a group of bandits while they sever Grey’s ability to move his arms or legs. Fortunately, the guy whose car Grey fixed allows Grey to try a piece of experimental new tech. This allows him full control of his arms and legs again except that it is through the program STEM which even talks to him now. Is Grey really in control or is STEM pulling the strings? Grey doesn’t have time to think about it though because while the cops have been unable to find the guys who murdered his wife, STEM has some ideas.

The film clearly takes place in the future with all of the crazy gadgets that are everywhere. You have automatic cars that are incredibly advanced and even the buildings look high-end. Technology is moving pretty fast and Grey resents that a bit because all of the practical hands on kind of tasks have been removed. A.I. control everything now so there is really no escape. However, as Grey notes, criminals still get away with everything so it’s like the extra surveillance doesn’t even matter.

Of course the main plot of the film is about Grey trying to find the murderers and then take them down. Grey isn’t much of a fighter but that’s why STEM is here. STEM is able to temporarily take control of Grey’s body and then allow him to fight at full power. Basically Grey can go on auto pilot mode and let STEM do everything. It’s pretty handy but of course then Grey is actively surrendering his body to something else so is the price too high for this success? That’s the kind of question he has to ask himself.

STEM makes for a pretty interesting A.I. He sounds a whole lot like Hal 9000 so I think from the start everyone is meant to be wary of him. He can certainly fight well though I’ll give him that. He has absolutely no mercy for anyone who is in his way. STEM is the kind of character who figures that straight up murdering the opponents is most efficient so that’s never particularly surprising. These kind of A.I. villains are always interesting so I was on board with this.

As for Grey, he’s not quite as likable a main character. I can see why he wants to avenge his wife so going on the quest to stop these guys is a good start. He does have a habit of throwing up a whole lot though. The film has several scenes of this which is always pretty gross. While STEM does all of the hard work, Grey effectively signs off on most of it by not telling him to stop. Even when he does tell STEM to back off, it’s usually once it’s too late to do much of anything either. So he’s either all in and willing to help STEM murder the opponents or he’s not but the character can be a bit wishy washy about the whole thing.

The character cast is fairly small here as you’ve got the scientist, Grey, STEM, and the murderers. That’s pretty much it. For supporting characters you do have Grey’s mother though and the police agent Cortez. Cortez means well but she is definitely messing with forces that are a little too powerful for her at the moment. Grey is effectively a super soldier with STEM active after all and she would have died instantly upon entering if Grey wasn’t fighting back. Her options are rather limited though since how do you even know if you should take a guy down when he is being controlled?

Where Upgrade falters though is in how unrelentlessly violent the film is. We get a rather long scene of STEM torturing someone to death and all of the fights are pretty brutal as he snaps limbs and destroys everyone he comes across. Get ready for a lot of headshots and other such moments. Even the vomiting all over the place is probably another way to be rather gritty as Grey represents the audience reacting to this level of violence. The fight scene between Grey and another one of the upgraded humans was definitely good though. At least that had a lot of good choreography the whole time and made for a good back and forth battle.

It was like a comic book fight which is good. Whenever you leave that part though and get back to the murders then the film dials it up once again. That aspect definitely should have been toned down. As for the ending, I can see that one being rather mixed. It’s definitely a pretty bold way to end though and could lead the way for some sequels. After the initial shock value is over though, you may have some questions on exactly how this plays out. I think all of the questions can be answered though as you just realize that everything was a lie. With that knowledge in place, then everything does even out. After all, it just comes down to acting.

Overall, Upgrade has a pretty interesting plot. It’s a classic revenge story with Grey being willing to loosen his morals a great deal in order to secure a decisive victory. That being said, the film goes too far into edgy territory. This film could have absolutely been executed well without going so far over the top. In particular I’m never on board with the main character torturing someone to get what he wants. Grey allowing that to happen at all was definitely a shame. The film has its share of funny scenes as well although for the most part it is quite serious. If you want a film with a better blend of the two genres…then go watch Venom. You can see similarities between the two of them but Venom just handled all of this better.

Overall 3/10